tv Politics Nation MSNBC October 13, 2011 6:00pm-7:00pm EDT
sharpton starts right now. hey, republicans, 14 million americans are desperate for work, and you're forcing a vote on abortion? >> this is this kind of myth that will -- >> the do-nothing congress finally goss to war. not on unemployment, but on women's health. tonight senator sheldon whitehouse on republican party's outrageous priorities. >> well, thank you. >> watch out, seniors. >> 9-9-9 plans. >> the leading republican's plan is called 9-9-9, but it would deep-six social security. and willard mitt romney wants to deep six his health care plan. we'll hear from the adviser who met with president obama.
>> as we grew older, i think we blinked. >> plus the icon. >> you never stopped that act viv, wight? >> i don't like to give up fun. >> my interview with the great harry belafonte, who still won't give up the quest for justice in this country. "politics nation" starts right now. welcome to "politics nation." i'm al sharpton, live from las vegas. tonight's lead, republicans in congress just plain outrageous. again today, president obama challenged the gop to put forth a jobs plan. >> show us the republican jobs plan that independent economists would indicate would actually put people back to work. i haven't yet seen it. >> wait, mr. president.
you haven't seen it? let me show you, republicans in the house, today, fighting hard for jobs. >> we must prevent taxpayers dollars from being used to fund abortions. >> there's a good jobs plan. attacks women's rights. they're minutes away from passing a bill restricting abortion rights, and this is their grand compromise on jobs? democrats called them out on it today. >> under this bill, when the republicans vote for this bill today, they will be voting to say that women can die on the floor and health care providers do not have to intervene. >> i was pregnant, i was miscarrying, i was bleeding. if i had to go from one hospital to the next trying to finds one emergency room that would take me in, who knows if i would even
be here today. >> this is not a political gain. this is people's lives. this bill allows hospitals to refuse abortions even for a pregnant woman with a life-threatening complications. planned parenthood is calling it, quote, a demolition derby for women's health care. and so while the house is offering up that job solution, here's the jobs plan republicans are offering in the senate. >> we need to have a reduction in corporate taxes from 35 to 25. >> make it easier and cheaper for the private sector. >> based on free enterprise principles. >> repeal the obama care, repeal dodd/frank, repeal these harmful regulations. >> lowering tax rates can create an economic boom. >> wow. who saw that coming?
a jobs and agenda built around more tax cuts and less regulations. get this one. they're referring to it as the real american jobs plan, because nothing says real american jobs plan like tax breaks for the rich. at the end of the day, i'm with you, president obama, i haven't seen a republican jobs plan, either. at least not a serious one. joining me now is senator sheldon whitehouse, democrat from rhode island. senator, thanks for coming on the show tonight. >> good to be with you, reverend, thank you for having me. >> senator, the other side of the aisle is clearly not focused on jobs. >> clearly. >> and they are -- let me just ask this -- are they trying to just hurt the economy on purpose? >> well, i think the president has said that they would rather see him fail than get the economy back on its feet. if you look at the vote that
they just took in the senate the other day, we tried to move to proceed to the president's jobs bill. one we had moved to proceed, they could have offered any amendment they wanted. we would have had a discussion about it, we would have begun the legislative process process about jobs in america. they wouldn't open the door to that discussion. they slammed the door shut. they said no, we're not going to discuss it. as you saw, they moved immediately into the house to an attack on women's health rights. so trying to get them to focus on jobs in a real way is proving to be a challenge. >> so you're saying that after the vote the other night, if their objects was the president's plan, they could have moved back in and started dealing with alternative plans or parts of the bill or whatever they wanted to do, rather than do that, the house republicans went toward women's rights and abortion, and the republicans in the senate have gone to the same
old let's take care of tax cuts for the rich and deregulation, so there's no serious attempt at all by republicans to come with a jobs plan? >> not that i can see. so far, there is no jobs plan, there's nothing that any independent economist has looked at and said this will actually create jobs. they're talking about now maybe trying to get one together, but the president has one that would create nearly 2 million jobs according to the economist who used to work for john mccain. isn't that good enough to start the discussion at least? not for them. they shut us down. >> they say all politician is local. people may think you're being partisan as a democrat, will you let's look at your own state, rhode island. what would have happened if this bill passed in rhode island? it would have support 2,100 construction jobs, 1,100 education jobs, 1,100 school infrastructure sdwrobs. 31,000 jobs for long-term
unemployed. can your state and your constituents in the state afford to lose all of this, senator? >> no, al, and behind those numbers, there are real stories of real americans. i do a tele-town hall pretty regularly. on my last one, a lady called in. her name is diane, and she was talking about her husband. they have three kids. her husband was a heavy equipment operator, lost his job. retrained himself as a welder, lost his jobs. through no fault of their own, because of the economy. now they're struggling, they don't know what they're going to do. they don't know if they can keep their home with three children in it. you can put people to work in this country right away with the unextra structure investment this bill would create. so the numbers you used, reverend are big numbers. what's important is behind each of those numbers is a family suffering because of this tsunami of catastrophe that came
out of wall street and has knocked the middle class down. we're trying to give people a chance to get back on their feet, and just the effort to get on a jobs bill. this wasn't even a vote another jobs bill. this was just a vote to get on the job bills and start having amendments and talking about it. >> you used the term cincinnati. what really alarms me is in the face of that, like at what ryan paul is saying. >> it is patently false. the top 53% of the people pay it. >> i mean, are they crazy? if that's not bad enough, marco rubio says he's going to introduce this bill. look at this. he's proposing a bill that would cut back 10% the federal
workforce, it would cut 440,000 jobs. they're actually talking about cutting jobs while we're trying to get a jobs plan to provide jobs. this is outrageous. >> there's been a stud i don't done if we went for the wild ideas, particularly that the republican house has supported would cost. they're out there with legislation that would destroy jobs. when you look at things that seems to be on the face reasonable, regulatory reform or reducing spending. as soon as you start talking about reducing spending, they want to kill medicare. they want to gut the clean air act. as soon as you pull back the curtain on any of their ideas, there's a corporate rottweiler behind the curtain. we need to defend the public from that. we're willing to talk about spending and regulatory reform,
but haul they want to talk about is killing medicare and gutting the clean air act. those are things that america doesn't support and that are wrong for this country. >> senator sheldon whitehouse, thank you for the fight you're making and thank you for being with me tonight. >> thank you for. opportunity. this weekend i'm marching for jobs and justice. i'm doing it because there's an incredible amount of injustice in this country. republicans just don't seem to have any urgency about it. just look at the occupy wall street movement. these people are fighting for fairness, this inequality shouldn't continue, not here in america. this has become much more than just a march on wall street.
it's hit a nerve and spread to more than 1400 american cities, and they're doing it because they want a level playing field. >> the financial system is tilted, skewed toward the rich. >> we are the 99%. we are the 99%. >> most people in america know that the economic situation is unfair. >> social justice, financial justice, you know, jesus' stuff that the gop really isn't getting these days. >> republicans, do you hear that? americans are in the streets saying your party doesn't get it. what don't you get? is that a quarter of the millionaires in this country pay taxes at a lower rate than the middle class? that's right. millionaires, paying a smaller share than working-class americans. what you also don't get is that the top 1% controls a quarter of
the wealth in this country, and what you really don't get is that all of this is happens white more than 46 million are living in poverty. republicans, you called these people mobs. whatever you think, 54% of this country thinks this movement is right. americans are on the side of equality, and so am i. we'll be making ourselves heard at the march this saturday. the question for you, republicans -- will you finally listen to americans? cherokee has a best-in-class driving range of more than 540 miles per tank. so you can catch morning tee time in monterey and the afternoon meeting in los angeles, all without running out of gas. just make sure you don't run out of gas. ♪
the plan is just about all herman contain talks about. >> and 999 means jobs, jobs, jobs. >> someone once said simplicity is genius. i believe that was why i was attacked so much. >> that allows the free market system to pick the winners and losers. >> sorry, mr. cain, but you're the one picking winners and losers. all the experts agree, former
reagan adviser bruce bartlett, says the plan is, quote, a huge tax cut for the wealthy. "the washington post" calls it deceptive and unfair. and the center for american progress said it would, quote, bankrupt the country. but that must be why republicans love it. cain delivers big for the top 1%. his plan raises taxes on the poor, lowers taxes on the rich, and adds to the deficit. herman also has some bad ideas for medicare and social security. he says, quote -- get the federal government out of the way. this will allow states, cities, churches and charities, and businesses to offering a helping hand instead of a handout. translation, in the safety net as we know it. joining me now, nbc analyst alex wagner, and kneeia malika henderson, reporter for "the
washington post." alex, isn't this a classic plan, take from the poor and give to the rich? >> it's something else, i'll say that, reverend. there are solid mathematics to back the assertion this would absolutely raise taxes on the poor, shift the burden to them. the rich don't spend as much of their income as the poor do. this will give them a break, but at the end of the day, this is in line with the party baulking at a tax cut. the gop has really found itself on the side of the top 1%. that's one of the reasons you're seeing is the outcry in the streets. it's a testament that people will opt for simplicity.
>> vice president biden said on "good morning america" this. >> it's totally consistent with republican philosophy, that is what you continue to do is continue to cut taxes to the millionaires and billionaires, and continue to add a burden on the middle class. >> niya, can they win? can the republicans expect to win the white house with this kind of plan? >> he came out to say this was a bold idea, and something that people should take a look at. it's unclear whether or not this thing is going to have staying power. we see herman contain at the top of the polls. you guys just had a poll out, he's ahead of mitt romney. a lot of folks you talk to on the ground really look at those polls and say, wait a minute, cain isn't in any of these states. he doesn't have much of a ground
game in any of these states, iowa, new hampshire, he's on a book tour, i think in ohio today. so they look at that and say these polls aren't necessarily correct. and we may see a real downgrading over the last couple weeks. >> not only does he not super a ground game, i don't think he has a sound game in policy. if you look at when he was questioned xw the details of his plan and questions were raised about 9% in terms of sales tax. are you talking about foot? talking about goods? let me show you what herman contain said about the explaining of his own plan and the impact on consumers and working-class people.
>> explain why we should be paying more for milk, bread and beer. >> they have the flexibility how much to spend on new goods, and used goods. >> if you go and loot at how much they would probably spend on sales taxes for new goods, they still will have money left over. >> so we're talking about 9% sales tax. i mean, do you understand what that means? he was like all over the place. i mean, what does that mean? >> let's keep it in mind, i was in new hampshire a few days ago, and herman contain was in in that in that talking about the sales of this 9-9-9 plan. apparently he did not know that there is no sales tax in new hampshire, so that's a 9% sales tax. this is someone who specializes
in slogans. when you are president of the united states. slogan-eering will not work. herman contain has shown no proclivity for that sort of thing. he apparently has an unknown financial guise who is his policy guru. when he's asked specifics, he basically withers. the platform is being attacked on the right and the left. >> nia, i give him credit. he did well for himself. we're proud to see him lift himself up by his bootstraps, but when you're talking about putting a 9% sales tax across the board, can't clarify whether you're talking about single mothers buying milk and bread. we do know if it goes across the board, people buying things every day are paying a higher tax, wealthy people don't do that. i mean, how does anyone lift themselves up when they're being
charged more than the people who are in the top 1%. >> let's not forget this plan is not only a waystation to a bigger tax. they wouldn't even get deductions for earned income tax credits or anything like that. in some ways herman cain revels in this whole idea of simplicity. his foreign policy done trick is nine pages, coincidentally, and he's sort of revels in this idea that i don't have an afghanistan plan yet, but i would develop one. we'll hear him with this. i don't want to call it willful ignorance, but in some ways it is. he sort of says people find that refreshing. he says he doesn't exactly know all of what he would do with this tax plan or even with
foreign policy. >> i wanted to add, my favorite herman contain quote is i've got to prove to the american people there's more between my ears than pepperoni and pizza sauce. you know, we're looking for that, and i don't think we're finding a lot thus far. >> he lacks an illinois and ohio and florida plan. we don't understand how you don't know where your sales tax is going to start. we know it will increase taxes for the working class, but i mean, it's just absolutely just slogan-eering. thank you both and have a great night. >> thank you, reverend. >> they said mr. cain likes simplicity, he says take him seriously, don't call him names, which i agree. so, mr. cain, your plan simply doesn't make sense. ahead, the boehner camp to
jobs agenda is on full display right now -- attack women's rights. plus willard's health care past won't go away. and it just got worse. the tape you need to see. and rush limbaugh takes on mitt romney. wait until you hear what he said today. [ male announcer ] what if that hemorrhoid pain is non-stop to seattle? just carry new preparation h totables.
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and help pay for what medicare doesn't. call this toll-free number now... willard mitt romney better asking his corporation friends for some advice. his health care problem is getting worse. today this video from the 2006 signing ceremony in massachusetts went viral. >> senator kennedy, together we pitched the secretaries on our vision to ensure all our citizens. his work in washington and behind the scenes on beacon hill was absolutely essential. it's now my pleasure to introduce my collaborator and friend, senator edward kennedy. >> yeah, ted kennedy was romney's collaborator. this ted kennedy.
>> the whole issue of health insurance and universe coverage. it has been the passion of my life. it has been the passion of my life. and it has been the passion of my life since the earliest days of my life. >> this comes just days after nbc's michael isikoff found a smoking gun linking romney's plan to president obama's. three architects of romney-care met a dozen times with senior obama officials in 2009, including president obama, helping to shape the new law step by step. have fun explaining this one to the tea party. with me now, one of those romney care architects jonathan gruber, now a professor of economics at m.i.t., and michael isikoff, nbc news national investigative
correspondent. the man who broke the story about romney-care at the white house. michael, let me start with you. the romney camp has always tried to act like there was no kind of interaction at all, no intersection at all with what he did in massachusetts and what the president proposed to the country. your story seems to blow that wide open. >> well, i think that the president and white house officials have said before that the -- that the romney bill passed in massachusetts in 2006 was the inspiration for the affordable care act, and i think what we were able to show goes a bit beyond that, showing it was more like the blueprint, meeting with people like jonathan, with john kingsdale, appointed by the romney administration to actually implement the health reform law there, and john
mcdonough, who was a stakeholder in the negotiations over the affordable act, but i think over the romney law. so i think when you put it together it's pretty clear, and i think the records show they were consulting and relying very heavily on the massachusetts experience in the drafting of the affordable care act. >> jonathan, you were one of the architects of romney care, you were in the meetings at the white house, what is it that the white house and the president wanted to know? >> they basically wanted to know how we made it work in massachusetts. they were ready to take a bold step forward with health insurance coverage. we had run the expert in massachusetts. it had been successful. they wanted to know how we did it and how we could base the law on the lessons we learned in massachusetts. so jonathan, are you surprised when you hear that romney -- mr. governor romney says that his plan is totally different from
the president's plan, and that they have no kind of similarities at all? are you surprised when you hear him say that? >> well, it's completely incorrect if he says that. he knows that is incorrect. the big distinction he's drawing is that president obama's plan has now taxes to pay for it, and his didn't. but that's really just dishonest. he didn't have to raise taxes, because the federal government picked up half the cost, and because there was tax sitting around that governor dukakis had implemented, and rom -- the only difference was romney wasn't forced to raise taxes, obama had to. otherwise, the problems are the same. >> you were an adviser on this plan while he was governor, and you were advising him and those that shaped romney-care? jonathan? >> yes, i was a consultant to his administration. i helped him in the early stages, then helped the
legislature write the bill. i was appointed by governor romney to the connector board, the board that implemented the law in massachusetts, starting in 2006. >> so, michael, i went to public schools in brooklyn new york, but 1 plus 1 equalled 2 when i went to school. here is someone who was there in the meetings saying what happened. how does willard now come and try to rewrite history? >> i think what he says is look, it was right for massachusetts, i don't walk away from what i did in massachusetts, but one size doesn't fit all. what's right for massachusetts is not right for texas, is not necessarily right for the rest of the country. but look, he's appealing to two different constituencies. had he was governor of massachusetts, he was in a state that obviously has a long history of voting democrat ec. he was dealing with a democratic
legislature. trying to be the pragmatic governor. now he's running for president in ra republican primary with a very conservative electorate, and one which views obama-care as one of the great black marks of this administration. so he's got to thread the needle and emphasize the distinctions between what he between in massachusetts and what he wants to do now, and at times the records of showing what took place at the white house and how affordable care act came to be crafted are a bit inconvenient for that message. >> well, let me make another suggestion as well. it's probably political, because he knows, as running for president, as you just said, michael, that republicans don't like this plan. look at the polls of where republicans stand on this plan. and then he also knows that he
becomes the target of some of those that are the most bombastic in the republican right. look and listen to what rush limbaugh had to say about romney? >> romney is not a conservative. i like him very much. i've spent social time with him. he's a fine guy. a very nice gentleman. he is a gentleman. but he's not a conservative. >> well you heard it. that was today, rush limbaugh. thank you both for being with me tonight. and willard, you've got a lot of explaining to do -- not to me, but to the tea party. my interview with harry belafonte, the actor, singer, and activist, speaks out on
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welcome back to the show. it's hard to put just one label on harry belafonte. over half a century he's broken through social and racial barriers in every aspect of his work, and fought tirelessly for civil rights, justice and equality around the world. now, at 84, he's releasing his autobiography called "my song." next monday hbo will premiere a new documentary about his life called "sing your song." i recently sat down with him to talk protests, the president and the future of america. >> it is indeed an honor for me to have on the show one of the
men i most admire, harry belafonte. >> it is great to be with you, reverend, in your new incarnation. you wear it well. >> since you brought me through several of my incarnations. let me start by talking about the book and the documentary. you say in your book that you learned -- let me put up this quote, i see the little boy i was in all his complexities, angry and hurt, almost always alone, yet why this little boy among all others should use his anger to push himself up, make a name for himself. what do you think it was that pushed you, made you be different than one would think given the environment and given your social isolation? >> i would say that the first, in human form, was my mother.
her immigrant life, her own view of the world in which he brought us into, was consistently challenging to her, and she built up this resistance to oppression. the other factor was just poverty. the experience of poverty i think shapes a lot in one's character. you can go wrong or go right. i'm not making moral statements, i'm just saying that path. for me, fortunately, there were enough mentors, people out doing the thing, there was eleanor roosevelt, the boys, our community was langston hughes, and there were a lot of folks who took the challenge. by the time the second world war came and i got involved with that, that rounded out the picture for me from a universal perspective. i saw our human commonalty with the events that unfolded during that war.
when i came back to america, expecting all the things we had preached about that w, for democracy, to end racism, to have no superior race, but all people come together in a social harmony just was denied black people en masse. we had a choice to give into that or to rebel against it. many of us took the road of rebellion. >> let me show you a clip that is important to me. you became a megastar, but you also sacrificed a lot. here's a clip of you talking with president john kennedy during the civil rights era, a time when people, particularly black artists, but any artist, was to be honored to be talking to a president. >> as a negro and as an american i have many questions, and i'm sure everyone does. >> i want to make it clear, on this question of equal
opportunity for all americans, whether in civil rights, better housing, better working conditions, jobs, i stand for these things. >> i thought kennedy should be taking a look at the movement, which he did not know too much about. >> he's getting ready to run for president, challenging the democratic nominee presumed, who later became president on civil rights, you helped to really be the backbone to dr. king, and to nelson mandela. i remember when i went over as an election observer for the elections in south africa, they said we would have never attorney down apartheid without harry belafonte. >> i think that statement carries more generosity than actuality. i think that we did a great deal. a lot of us did here in america, on the antiapartheid movement. thousands of young people were engaged like they are engaged today.
a lot of people sought to dismiss them as irrelevant, and we were just bleeding hearts. well, you know, a bleeding heart has been america's number one tool for goodness. sitting with john kennedy, he needed to be prodded, he needed to be led. he needed to be awakened to the issue of our day that he was not as in depth familiar with as he should have been. just as i believe now is the only thing i find missing from barack obama is a nation that's at his back. the tea party is there, a lot of people making a lot of noise, but he did not have and does not have, and will will have -- i predict it coming, what you sea on wall street is a martyr on its way to let the world know that there's an america that's awake, and an america that's thirsty for truth and an american that demands on having things in another way and is that way in a lot of america.
a lot em -- the most unlikely thing, when a blam woman's feet hurt on a bus is a start of your movement? what are you smoking? you know, get out of here and go find life. we said we found a life, we're going to show you one. from that little humble beginning, we changed the future of america. i think exactly the same thing is happening now. >> when you see things like occupy wall street and others, having seen movement before grow and become history-changing movements, you don't discount things, because you've seen things come from the bottom up and really change governments. >> i not only don't discount it, but i recognize the fact when things happen, that's the only way they happen, coming from the bottom up. >> you waited for a long time to write your memoirs and to allow this film to be done, and you worked meticulously at it. what do you want generations
from now to know about harry belafonte? >> there's no condition too severe and no opportunity missing where you cannot on all conditions make a difference. it's just how you choose to do it, and are you committed to truly wanting to make a difference? we'll show part two of my interview with harry belafonte on tomorrow night's show. truly a moving man and a truly moving interview. ahead, at a time of division over jobs and justice, we need a moment to come together. the martin luther king jr. memorial, and why his message is needed now, more than ever, next. we're america's natural gas
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but on sunday, the nation will pause to honor the legacy of martin luther king jr., with the official dedication of his memorial in washington, d.c. it's a monument to the man and to his work, and to the work yet to be done and the fight for justice and civil rights for all americans. >> it's just a dream come true for all of us and america to be able to have such a tribute to him. >> it's really cool to learn more about someone who inspired a lot of people. >> in my mind, he is probably one of the greatest americans that's ever lived. so to have this monument here is just outstanding. >> you long, overdue distinction is a as a result of more than 25 years of work by members of king fraternity. and in no small measure, it was
spearheaded and led by another southerner, the man who led this effort and made it happen, and we'll be marking him on that day, harry johnson sr. >> harry, the memorial has been open to the public for a few weeks. what has been the reaction? >> it's been wonderful. i think the parks service said about 1.5 million people thus far have come to visit this wonderful memorial. >> what gave you this passion? i would see you in cities, in airports. you were up at dawn and up to dawn again raising money. why was this such a personal kind of commitment to make this happen? >> dr. king was an international hero, and failure was not an
option for any of us. so raising the funds i took it on as a passion, not just for me or my kids, but indeed the world to see into the future. >> one of the things people need to understand, and i saw that as people started from all over the world, from all kinds of backgrounds, nationalities, even people that don't speak the english language, coming to this memorial that you and the alphas made sure happened. dr. king would fight a contemporary and local battle with a much bigger meaning. let me show you something he said. >> okay. >> the struggle now is not just to integrate a lunch counter or to guarantee the right to vote. we have had magnificent struggles and watershed movements in seeking to make these rights a reality, but now
the struggle is for genuine equality. >> that was in 1967. dr. king saw the fight for -- against segregation and against those who would stop voting rights as a bigger universal right. that's what you've been able to capture with this memorial for everybody in the world to see. >> there's no question, dr. king was not just an african-american hero, nor just an american hero. he was an international hero that changed the world. that's what we wanted people to see, that dr. king was indeed a contemporary hero, and people will see a more diversified mall with the first man of color, first man of peace situated on the mall. >> a few weeks ago when we had to postpone the official dedication because of the hurricane, the alphas did have
their dedication, and we all were there. i was the only non-alpha you let speak that day. what's going to happen sunday? >> on sunday we expect the president of the united states. i'm told that the vice president of the united states will be there. other dignitaries, as we officially turn this over to the united states for all to see. stevie wonder will be with us along with other dignitaries. mayors from across the country, a lot of civil rights heroes from the past and present will be with us, including yourself. >> well, i'll tell you something, harry, all of the dignitaries will be there, all of us will be there, but i want to say this to the nation, none of us would be there if it wasn't for your effort and the effort of the alphas. we should never forget hits fraternity would not let the world forget the legacy. harry johnson sr., thank you so much, and thank you for giving this nation and the world a gift to put this memory and legacy